If you’ve ever taken a couple weeks off from exercising, you know how difficult it can be to get back into shape or back onto a treadmill once again. Making exercise a part of a daily routine can make getting daily exercise much easier. For an older or frail person, just getting up and down out of a chair unassisted uses muscles that need to be exercised on a regular basis. The old adage, “Use it or lose it,” is unfortunately very true for those over 50 years of age.
With the help and consultation of a physician, even frail seniors should be able to work in a daily exercise routine that can help them increase strength and endurance and improve their overall quality of life. Some tips for integrating a fitness routine into daily activities include:
Focus first on individual goals, concerns, and any barriers that may prevent the exercise.
Exercise in short, 10-minute bouts, if you’re just starting. The key is to ease into a set regimen to avoid muscle strains or other injuries. Then slowly (over the space of 1-2 months), gradually increase the walking times or the amount of push-ups, leg lifts (scissors) or sit-ups or any other exercises that make up your exercise regimen.
Set a schedule. The key is to set aside specific days and times for exercise, making it just as much a regular part of a daily schedule as everything else.
Wear comfortable clothes that don’t restrict movement. For older individuals getting back into exercising, working out every-other-day is often a healthy, injury-free way of re-starting an exercise regimen.
Wear leg warmers or over-the-knee socks that can help prevent sore muscles in the lower leg.
If a movement causes pain, stop! The old adage “no pain, no gain” is never true for older adults.
Finally, opinions and research vary regarding stretching before or after exercising. Most experts agree that a very gradual “warm-up” routine of 2-5 minutes, followed by a more vigorous period of exercising avoids injuries and strains. Following this, a regimen of stretching exercises lasting about 15 or 20 minutes where all the major muscle groups are slowly stretched and held for a count of 30, is a healthy way to maintain flexibility as we age to help prevent falls and other injuries.
At AAging Better In-Home Care, we help seniors and older loved ones get the daily exercise they need in a safe environment. Contact us to learn more about our home care services today. If calling from the Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene, Hayden Lake areas, we can be contacted at 208-777-0308; or if calling from the Sandpoint, Priest River, Bonners Ferry areas, call 208-263-7889; and if calling from Kellogg, Pinehurst, or Wallace areas, contact us at 208-784-1505. If calling from outside of north Idaho for yourself or a loved one, please call our toll free number at 1-877-464-2344.